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Newborn bison join herd at Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Caribou calves expected later this summer.
Two newborn bison have joined the herd at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve. (Submitted)

The Yukon Wildlife Preserve has welcomed some new arrivals in its bison enclosure.

One bison calf was born on April 29 and another on May 6.

Wildlife preserve executive director Jake Paleczny said the number of bison cows that are still pregnant is not known. He noted that confirming which ones are pregnant would require sedating and putting them through unnecessary stress.

The wildlife preserve currently has a herd of 18 bison. Paleczny said the preserve does not separate its male and female wood bison which leads to two or three calves per year.

The baby bison will receive a checkup and ear tags later this summer. Paleczny said a wide window of time is left for this in order to avoid stressing the calves when they are young and very dependent on their mothers. The only other reason the calves will be handled is if staff see any behaviours that make them immediately concerned for their health.

For now, he said the calves seem to be doing very well.

The first new arrival of the season was a baby musk ox, the preserve’s first since 2017, which was unfortunately born small and somewhat weak on April 8 before succumbing to the elements and a congenital intestine blockage a few days later.

Paleczny said the preserve is also looking forward to the birth of some caribou calves later in the summer.

Other sources of excitement include the busy schedule of students on school field trips and the return of migratory birds to the preserve. Paleczny said there have been 31 species of birds spotted on the preserve already this year and they are looking forward to welcoming people for summer bird walks.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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